About Ontario's Proposed Representation Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017
The proposed changes would implement recommendations by the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission to create new electoral boundaries in Northern Ontario.
These changes would require amendments to the Representation Act, 2015 to create two additional electoral districts in the geographic area occupied by the current ridings of Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins-James Bay. Creating these additional ridings would also require other amendments to the Election Finances Act and the Legislative Assembly Act, which are included in the proposed legislation.
Changes to the Election Finances Act would refine the attendance rules related to political fundraising. They would also allow nomination contestants to receive contributions to pay any outstanding debts after a nominee has been selected. In addition, the Election Act would be amended to give the Chief Electoral Officer legislative authority to share information from the Permanent Register of Electors with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, for electoral purposes.
More specifically, if this bill is enacted, the Representation Act, 2017 would:
- Amend the electoral boundaries in the area currently occupied by Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins-James Bay to create two additional ridings, resulting in a total of four ridings in that area:
- Kenora-Rainy River, including Dryden, Fort Frances, Kenora and Rainy River
- Kiiwetinoong, including the northern portion of the former riding of Kenora-Rainy River
- Mushkegowuk, including Weenusk (Peawanuck) First Nation
- Timmins, including the City of Timmins.
- Replace the current number of "11 northern electoral districts" with "13 northern electoral districts".
- Repeal the Schedule of the Act and replace it with one that includes the electoral boundaries of all 13 northern electoral districts.
Overview of Other Proposed Legislative Amendments
If this bill is enacted, the Election Finances Act would be amended so that:
- Subsection 1 (1) amends the definition of "nomination contest period" so that it ends three months after the candidate for the electoral district is selected, rather than the day on which the candidate is selected.
- A Subsection is added to section 1 to extend the nomination contest period for three months for nomination contestants whose nomination contest period ended on or after July 1, 2017 and before the bill received Royal Assent. This transitional provision would expire on June 30, 2018 (i.e., after the next scheduled election).
- Subsection 17 (3) is repealed and replaced with a provision that outlines the requirements for dissolved Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins-James Bay constituency associations to return contributions or pay them to the Chief Electoral Officer. This provision works in conjunction with the proposed section 44.6 to the Election Finances Act (see below).
- Section 41.1 is amended by adding 41.1(2.1), which requires registered political parties to promptly notify the Chief Electoral Officer of the name of appointed candidates, and 41.1(2.2), which creates a transition clause requiring registered political parties to provide the same notification for candidates nominated on or after January 1, 2017 and before July 1, 2017, and candidates appointed on or after January 1, 2017 and before the Representation Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017 received Royal Assent.
- Subsection 41.1 (3) is repealed and replaced to indicate that filing of a nomination contestant report to the Chief Electoral Officer shall be within three months after the nomination contest period has ended.
- A new section 44.6 establishes the requirements for continuing existing constituency associations, dissolving existing constituency associations, applying for new constituency associations, and ensuring appropriate reporting of assets, liabilities and filing of financial statements. These provisions apply to the current and future electoral districts in the geographic space currently occupied by Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins-James Bay. In addition, the section specifies that the requirements for constituency associations that will apply in the event of by-elections.
- A paragraph is added to subsection 23.1 (1) identifying a person who has been nominated or appointed as an official party candidate for an electoral district but who is not yet a registered candidate as one of the political actors who is prevented from attending fund-raising events where political contributions are received.
- Section 23.1 is amended to permit prescribed political actors to attend ticketed cost-recovery events only if those events have been advertised as cost-recovery events.
- A subsection is added to section 23.1 so that a person to whom the attendance rules apply is not prevented from attending an annual general meeting, policy conference or similar meeting on behalf of a registered political party or registered constituency association where delegate fees include a political contribution portion.
- Subsection 38 (3.3) is repealed and reinstated with an updated list of northern electoral districts where a higher candidate campaign expense limit applies. Kenora-Rainy River, Kiiwetinoong, and Mushkegowuk are included in this updated list. This links to the provision below that amends s. 67(6) of the Legislative Assembly Act.
If this bill is enacted, the Legislative Assembly Act would be amended so that:
- Subsection 67 (6) is amended to include an updated list of northern electoral districts where MPPs will be eligible for additional travel expense reimbursements. Kenora-Rainy River, Kiiwetinoong, and Mushkegowuk are included in this updated list. This links to the provision bill above that repeals subsection 38 (3.3) of the Election Finances Act.
If this bill is enacted, the Election Act would be amended so that:
- Section 17.2 is repealed and replaced to authorize the Chief Electoral Officer to share information from the Permanent Register of Electors, for electoral purposes, with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.